Kiwi specialists turn 100% pure
SINGAPORE, 7 March 2013: Tourism New Zealand will overall its Kiwi Specialist training programme for travel agencies to regain lost ground in Asia’s highly competitive outbound travel market.
As one of the early adopters of online training modules that recognise travel agents as specialists, New Zealand’s popular programme was copied and in some instances bettered by competitive destinations.
Over time, travel agencies have tended to move business to Japan and China that have a greater appeal to Asian visitors particularly for shopping, food and beverage and heritage attractions.
To rekindle a commitment from travel agencies, the programme has now adopted the “100% Pure New Zealand” identity instead of Kiwi specialists. Travel agents will find it easier to qualify and maintain their active status once they have qualified.
To encourage agents to sign up for the specialist programme, the first 50 agents who meet the module completion criteria and attend Tourism New Zealand training, by 31 December, will stand a chance to win a place on the South and Southeast Asia mega familiarisation trip that will take place in March 2014 visiting New Zealand’s north and south islands.
Additionally, the top two companies that register the most travel agents in the 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Promotion will win free registration for Tourism Industry Rendezvous New Zealand in 2014. TRENZ is New Zealand’s premiere tourism trade event. It used to be free to travel agents who were given sponsored air fares and hotel accommodation.
Regional Manager South and Southeast Asia for Tourism New Zealand, Mischa Mannix-Opie said: “Travel agents across South and Southeast Asia are key to our success in growing visitor arrivals to New Zealand.”
The new 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Programme will launch in South and Southeast Asia from 1 June 2013. The mega fam promotion will run 1 June to 31 December 2013.
The country welcomed 2.5 million international visitors last year representing NZ$9.7 billion annually to the nation’s economy. Unfortunately, the destination has lost out to China and Japan in the Asian market in recent years. It lacks heritage and history, but has abundant natural attractions and a thriving outdoor activity travel sector including winter skiing, treks, and soft adventure options.
Expensive air fares and a lack of nonstop flights from Asian capitals and rising consumer prices once in the country are the main deterrents to growing the market in Asia.
Thailand is described as a small market for New Zealand with just 16,928 visits in 2012 out of a total outbound market that exceeds 3 million trips a year. Singapore is New Zealand’s top source market in Southeast Asia delivering 35,968 visits and Malaysia a close second supplying 28,368 visits in 2012.
An annual Visitor Experience Monitor (VEM) provides a benchmark for the New Zealand tourism industry and its latest edition revealed Southeast Asian visitor satisfaction levels dropped for the 2011/12 year. Overall, visitors rated their holidays 8.3 out of 10 on average down from 9 in the previous VEM.
Southeast Asian visitors gave New Zealand’s environment a rating of 8.7 out of 10, activities 8.3 out of 10 and safety 8.3. But New Zealand failed to impress Southeast Asian visitors with its food and beverage offering scoring a 7.3 out of 10 while dining prices were rated 6.5 out of 10.